‘Ghostbusters: Afterlife’ Hits $44 Million In Theaters

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Tracking ghosts is still a fairly lucrative business after almost 40 years.

Heading into Thanksgiving weekend, the latest attempt to revive “Ghostbusters” has drawn significant audiences to theaters, while the darling “King Richard,” like most pandemic-era dramas, is struggling.

With a reverence for nostalgia and a few high-profile cameos in its arsenal, “Ghostbusters: Afterlife” opened above industry expectations with $44 million in ticket sales from 4,315 locations, according to studio estimates Sunday. The Sony film will be screened exclusively in cinemas.

The first weekend of “Afterlife” is actually lagging behind that of Paul Feig’s “Ghostbusters” starring Melissa McCarthy and Kristen Wiig, which had a $46 million opening in June 2016. Aside from the somewhat unpredictable movie habits of the pandemic era, the crucial difference is that “Afterlife” costs about half as much to make.

The other high-profile offerings of the weekend didn’t go down too well. “King Richard,” the well-reviewed drama starring Will Smith as the father of tennis greats Venus and Serena Williams, made $5.7 million across 3,302 locations, narrowly missing modest expectations by nearly half. The Warner Bros. movie was released simultaneously on HBO Max and in theaters.

While traditional blockbusters have managed to attract a sizeable audience, dramas have suffered disproportionately during the pandemic. Most debuted in the $3 million range. One of the more successful launches was the Aretha Franklin biopic “Respect,” which opened for $8.8 million.

Meanwhile, in A24 limited release, Mike Mills’ “C’mon C’mon” had one of the best limited platform debuts since February 2020 at $134,447 from 5 screens. In the film, Joaquin Phoenix plays the role of a man who takes care of his 9-year-old nephew.

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